For many of us, pursuing our calling can seem like an endless chase. We continuously work, without knowing if we will ever arrive, or what arriving would mean. Whether we have started a business, are trying to raise a family, or in my case write songs, the grind can seem endless. It’s not that we don’t enjoy our pursuit, after all, we choose to give our lives to these passions. It’s that we long for a destination that we have not yet reached. So how do we make sense of the situation? What should inspire us to keep going? Should we keep going?
The first thing is that the journey is, in fact, the destination. In his book Shoe Dog, Phil Knight the founder of Nike says the following about running ” When you run down an oval track, or down an empty road, you have no real destination. The act itself becomes the destination. It’s not that there’s no finish line; it’s that you define the finish line.” This is so important to remember. The end goal in music is to be a touring artist. To embark on a journey across the world, that hopefully doesn’t end. Once a person becomes a parent, they never cease to be one. For so many of us, our life’s goal leads us to a daily struggle, a routine, or path that doesn’t seem to end. It’s in the moments when we wonder if we’ll make it, that we must remember that we are making it. One step at a time.
The second thing is to struggle well on the journey. Journeys imply struggle. The stories we love to read about the most are the ones where heroes facing incredible challenges, and still found a way forward. The greater the struggle, the greater the journey. This is true not only in literature but in life as well. While we celebrate those who overcome their struggles, our struggles seem far less glorious. We so often long for the day when we won’t struggle anymore. However, this is not the correct view as Ray Dalio explains, in his book Principles “While I surpassed my wildest dreams decades ago, I am still struggling today. In time, I realized that the satisfaction of success doesn’t come from achieving your goals, but from struggling well.” The question we need to wrestle with is not “how do I avoid struggle on my journey?” but rather “how do I struggle well on my journey?” If we can figure out how to struggle well, we can live out our journey to it’s fullest potential.
The third thing to remember is that the journey gets better. There are higher highs that you have yet to experience. There are lower lows that will strengthen your resolve. There are new friends to make, and lessons you have yet to learn. One of the quotes that became a banner for me as I moved to Nashville comes from C.S. Lewis “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” That was the last thing I read in my driveway in Atlanta. That was the first thing I posted on Instagram. That was what got me to leave the Peach State and start my journey in Music City. Whatever journey you’re on, I promise it will get better. Ultimately, it will make you better, and that makes the journey worth it.
Remember, your journey is your destination, learn to struggle well, and the journey will get better. We’re all on a journey. Travel yours well, and help others along the way.
I hope this resonates with you in some way. What have you learned about your own journey? What principles have guided you? What advice would you share? Let me know in the comments section.